English Language Arts

Overview

ELA PHILOSOPHY

The English Language Arts program in Madison offers an individual approach that prepares students to become critical and creative thinkers, lifelong learners, and active contributors to a global society. The program meets the needs of a diverse student population, including students learning English as a second language. Literacy Foundations, taught across the curriculum, in coordination with the English Language Arts program, provide students with the tools to achieve their highest potential.

When students are engaged in a topic which interests them, thinking, learning, and communicating occur in a natural, integrated way. A language arts curriculum must aim to develop that engagement, but the student must share the responsibility for learning.

DELIVERY METHOD / VALUES

To teach ELA effectively teachers need strong content knowledge combined with good instructional skills and sound pedagogy. The use of Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop™ in grades K-8 offers students the opportunity to share their perspectives and opinions through book choice and personal writing. The high school curriculum continues the theme of voice and choice offering many opportunities for students to select texts. The inquiry model of learning is employed throughout the district.

STANDARDS

The Madison ELA curriculum is created with the district priorities represented in the mission statement, the 21st Century Capacities matrix, and is Common Core informed. These priorities were used to develop K-12 Transfer Goals that are most frequently revisited and assessed in curricular units throughout a student’s academic career.

ELA Reading Transfer Goals

Students will be able to…

  1. Use strategies to comprehend increasingly complex texts.
  2. Come to discussions with support for ideas, having asked probing questions and having analyzed appropriate evidence.
  3. Comprehend and engage with a variety of texts in order to become independent, critical thinkers.
  4. Choose and read a variety of genres and texts with purpose, engagement, and enjoyment.
  5. Evaluate the author’s message and purpose, citing text evidence to support conclusions.
  6. Compare and contrast informational and literary texts to synthesize information to grow and change a position.
  7. Compare and contrast literary patterns across texts to engage with traditional characters, motifs and lessons.
  8. Identify and critique the merit and purpose of a text, citing craft, structure and/or organization to justify opinion.
  9. Design research questions and identify credible resources to expand knowledge and understanding of a topic or issue using print and digital sources.

ELA Writing Transfer Goals

Students will be able to…

  1. Use a variety of planning tools and sources to gather and to create independent goals and ideas for writing.
  2. Use the writing process to thoughtfully produce and publish with a variety of tools for many intended audiences, purposes and messages.
  3. Structure writing to prove a thesis/claim/opinion using and citing best evidence to convince the intended audience and support the argument.
  4. Evaluate writing using a variety of tools and mentor writing to identify areas of strength and set goals for future development
  5. Generate and capture ideas (e.g., from mentor authors, personal experiences) to explore in writing.
  6. Present information and ideas using appropriate grammar, spelling and vocabulary to convey the message.
  7. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  8. Develop and revise a plan for writing to match their intended audience, purpose and message.
  9. Research and present information to expand knowledge and understanding of a topic.
  10. Synthesize information from a variety of sources to take and support a position.
English Language Arts 21st Century Capacities
ELA 21st Century Capacities

The capacities are embedded and assessed in each unit design. Every content area is unique, and some have clusters by the very nature of their discipline.

Guiding Documents

Foundations

Grades K - 4

Writing Foundations: Spelling, Grammar and Mechanics

Grade K, 1, and 2

Spelling and writing foundations are tightly connected to emerging reading skills. Most students apply decoding rules and strategies before they are able to apply the skills to their own writing of words. Teachers will incorporate spelling and writing instruction within the workshop framework. They will create small groups for strategy group work in the mechanics of writing and whole group lessons that will benefit the majority of the students. Teachers will hold students accountable for editing their work across the curriculum. Teachers will use student work and choose mechanics and editing mini-lessons for writer’s workshop within each writing unit of study. In kindergarten and grade 1, interactive writing is an ideal time for practicing and instructing students in letter formation and to observe students for targeted strategy group instruction.

Grade 3 and 4

The teaching of spelling, grammar and mechanics will occur during foundations time and during the writer’s workshop. Teachers will choose to provide whole and small group instruction to scaffold and then hold students accountable for differentiated application of skills. On-going assessment will serve as a way of providing targeted instruction for each child. Students will practice writing and sorting words so that they are able to transfer their learning to authentic writing. Students will learn to make a habit out of checking work for spelling, punctuation, and grammar by using editing checklists.

Grades 5 - 8

Starting in grade 5, foundations in the writer’s workshop shifts to a focus on mechanics and grammar as a part of communicating the writer’s message through their own work. The goal is to use grammar in a way that does not interfere with meaning, thus keeping author’s intent clear. Teachers may conduct whole-group mini lessons on a given concept and use small group work to reinforce skills, as needed. Students are held accountable for applying the skills in their writing where individual feedback serves as the vehicle for re-teaching. As students progress through middle school, grammar and mechanics are used as tools that, not only ensure meaning, but enhance author’s craft, contributing to individual “voice” in a piece. Finally, in upper middle school, foundations work includes developing complexity in writing fluency, thus bringing the work of Madison writers to a point where they are prepared for their secondary education writing experiences.

Kindergarten

Unit 1 Reading: Launching a Community of Readers and Writers

Launching a Community of Readers and Writers introduces Kindergarteners into our learning community as readers and writers. Kindergartners will explore and learn all the places that print surrounds and impacts our daily lives. We launch our community by building a safe and responsive classroom with clear expectations of routines and procedures that will keep our community safe and productive. We immerse in literacy with songs, games, poems and stories. Play based experiences and instruction that is seeded in inquiry and discovery teach students the important work of building stamina while we engage with authors as we read books in the workshop. Readers will learn to read the pictures as they set goals and begin their reading journey engaged in meaning and comprehension. Routines of interactive writing, interactive read aloud, shared reading, shared writing, mini-lessons and literacy corners share a joy for reading and learning with emergent readers. Big books and poem posters will be used to model skills, using initial letter sounds to get your mouth ready and reading pictures closely. A variety of fiction and non-fiction read alouds are introduced as we model the balanced reading life that engages readers in purposeful book choice and reading to learn and wonder.

Reading Skills: CAP Skills, Oral Storytelling

21st Century Capacities: Perseverance, Decision Making

Unit 1 Writing: Writers Have a Voice

Kindergarteners arrive with full of stories to share. They will be lined up to talk about what is important to them. They will want to share their experiences, to teach things about themselves and all that they know. There is perhaps no year more crucial than kindergarten. There will be joy and opportunity for daily storytelling, writing, and sharing. Students will learn how important their ideas and messages are, asking questions to encourage elaboration, discourse and sharing a message with audience and purpose in mind. The community of writers will include students who are already writing, those with no writing experience, and everyone in between. Students will learn to develop a joy of writing, resiliency for trying, and pride in what they can do as storytellers and writers. Students will learn to date everything so they can see just how much they grow as writers in such a short time!

21st Century Capacities: Presentation, Perseverance

Unit 2 Reading: Using Patterns to Read the Word

Beginning readers are learning how print works and gaining an understanding the relationship between sounds and letters. They are learning to look left to right across words and one line of print. They are learning to search for and use information from pictures and to use simple language to help them learn about print. They differentiate print from pictures, begin to notice the distinctive features of letters, and begin attaching names to them. They are learning to read one line sentences with simple words about familiar topics. They are learning how to match one spoken word with one word in print. They use what they know to begin to self-monitor reading. Reading and rereading these very simple texts will help them gain control of ways to look at and work with print. Students will learn to use pictures to begin thinking along with authors. They will learn how you look and think closely about the pictures and predict what the author might be teaching you about in the book. Students will practice 1 to 1 correspondence and will practice getting their mouth ready to say the first sound as they read patterned big books and poems. Students will take part in small group guided reading instruction so they can access goal and strategy based instruction that is tailored to their just right levels. During this unit, reading partnerships are created for buddy reading, acting out, and other literacy destinations in the classroom.

Reading Skills: CAP Skills, Solving Tricky Words

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Reflection

Unit 2 Writing: How do Writers Make Books for Readers?

During this unit, students will work independently to author pattern books, which resemble the little leveled books seen in classroom libraries and in the hands of emergent and beginning readers. Students will build on the launch unit to use labels, lists, and sentences to make these pattern books. Student will learn how to choose a main idea and then think about a pattern that will best share their message. They will learn to take risks in their writing. Writers will continue to convey meaning with pictures and words.

21st Century Capacities: Innovation, Product Creation

Unit 3 Reading: Reading and Writing About Friends

Building on the energy and excitement of reading fiction and nonfiction pattern books, students will move on to understanding loveable characters in this unit. They will be introduced to a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction text selections in guided reading. The mini-lessons will focus on the theme of friendship in animal and human character stories. Students will listen to many stories in the Mo Willems Piggie and Elephant series. Students will get to know characters well by studying the way the illustrators draw details in the pictures. Readers will be working with 1:1 correspondence, reading pictures closely and predicting and confirming the first letter sounds of words. As readers move to the next level, they’ll start to rely more on their eyes for reading and use their fingers when they initiate problem solving. Students will work in small groups with targeted instruction in guided reading groups, phonics, phonemic awareness and letter knowledge. Students will focus on using strategies that will help them grow skills and strategies for reading running texts. Students will learn to analyze and infer the actions and emotions of characters from the pictures. Readers will take to the stage driven by their close-reading of pictures to act out character gestures and dialog. Students will spend time spent talking to peers about read texts. Students will create and add to a “good friend” chart with their own criteria for what makes a character a good friend.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Making Connections, Inferring, Visualizing

21st Century Capacities:Analyzing, Reflection

Unit 3 Writing: Our Own Stories with Friends

Students dive into the joy of storytelling as you read and write stories about friendship. Kindergarten writers will expand the stories they tell out loud and on paper with richer drawings and through print.

Moving from pattern book writing back to storytelling gives writers the opportunity to apply growing literacy skills and work with agency as they add voice and narrative craft to their own stories. Students will learn strategies to grow their storytelling through, pictures, words and labels. Writers will use strategies for planning, drafting and revising stories.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Design

Unit 4 Reading: Every Author is a Teacher

Kindergarteners have a natural wonder for nonfiction reading and writing. In this unit, students will learn that every author can be a teacher and that readers are always learning from writers. Students will learn about nonfiction books through the lens of noticing and questioning. Readers will learn to ask and answer questions like: What is this book mostly about? What did it teach me? What can I teach others because I read this book? How is this book the same and different from other books about this topic? Readers will also learn who, what, where, why, when and how questions as they go on journeys with authors to learn all about topics, places, people, animals and how to do many things. These questions will help readers talk and write about their learning.

Readers will be encouraged to read with their eyes and use their fingers at the point of difficulty as they use the picture and reread to problem solve. As students progress as readers they will learn more about how dialogue is connected to characters and how to use punctuation to understand what a character is saying and how they are saying it. As support for the text begins to lessen, readers will need to think more about what makes sense in the story and use phonics to problem solve. A high volume of reading continues to be the most important element of the reader’s workshop.

Reading Skills: Predicting, Summarizing

21st Century Capacities: Decision Making, Synthesizing

Unit 4 Writing: I am a Teacher

Kindergarten writers become teachers in this informational unit. Building on the developing voice for writing for an audience, students will be encouraged to keep a teaching and engaging stance in mind as they write about topics about which they are experts. Writers wil use craft and the text features of nonfiction as they write. They will write How-To Books followed by All About Books which may include How-To sections.

Students will have many opportunities to use the new words they are learning as they turn and talk, work in centers and use inquiry to find examples and talk about their discoveries and learning with partners. As always, a high volume of reading and writing experiences will help students to notice and think about the work of published authors as they find craft, structure and ideas they’d like to try out in their own writing. The goal for our kindergarten writers will be to write informational texts that have a main idea and supporting details using words and drawing.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Analyzing

Unit 5 Reading: Growing Opinions about Books and Life

This final unit of study launches readers into summer reading joyfully with enthusiasm and opinions about what they like about books. Strategy groups will provide instruction that gives readers an opportunity to grow their skills.

Readers will analyze why they like or dislike books, characters or topics. They’ll look at craft and features closely and listen to their classmates’ ideas as they gather up titles to add to their own “I want to read lists.”

Reading Skills: Inferring, Critiquing

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Analyzing

Unit 5 Writing: Persuasive Writing

In this unit writers will discover and use the power of their writing voices to influence the opinions and preferences of others. What could be more exciting than recommending well-loved characters and books to other readers? Students will collect evidence about what makes characters good and loveable friends in reading and then write persuasive letters to the characters, to other readers and create signs to post in the class and school library to spread the word to more and more readers.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Imagining

Grade 1

Grade 1 ELA Curriculum Overview 2016-2017

UnitDescription

Unit 1 READING

Agency and Engagement

First graders will launch into joyful reading with self-reflection, motivation and engagement at the forefront.First grade readers will set goals for themselves as individuals and as a community of readers and writers.Students arrive ready for workshop with experiences as readers and writers from kindergarten.Students will learn the routines and procedures of readers’ workshop and how to use the class library.Readers will choose a variety of texts across both fiction and informational texts, work on reading fluently, and learn to discuss text with others. Students will learn perseverance and cooperation as their literacy community grows.

Reading Skills: Solving Tricky Words, Visualizing

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Analyzing

Unit 1 WRITING

Taking Charge of Our Writing Lives

The arriving first graders are published authors of persuasive, narrative and informational books.They talked and wrote in great volume, using checklists and teacher guidance to set goals to choose topics, revise and edit their work. They are full of stories and news to share with audiences.They tell stories out loud, by acting out and by drawing pictures and share stories and information about what is important to them in whole group, small groups and partnerships.Students have worked to build encoding skills and strategies in kindergarten and are familiar with many workshop instructional strategies and routines including turn and talk, interactive writing, interactive read aloud and process writing.Students will develop a joy of trying out new ideas, strategies and feel the reward of writing a story to entertain and engage a reader.Students will bring important photographs to decorate their writing folders or create a map of the heart as a way to generate ideas that are really important to them.They will use pictures to tell oral stories to one another and to then try out writing their stories over three pages.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Imagining

Unit 2 READING

Characters

Readers are choosing books independently and reading with engagement and joy for 20-30 minutes at a time. Students will have the opportunity to embrace loved characters as they listen to books and begin to get hooked on series.Research shows that series readers become lifelong readers! Readers will be pointing and reading with their eyes and using their fingers to track only at point of difficulty.Readers use multiple strategies for problem solving.The complexity of stories and character development grows during this unit.Readers will encounter more inflectional endings and see more variety in punctuation including quotation marks, commas, exclamation points, question marks and ellipses.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Predicting, Inferring

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 2 WRITING

Just a Moment, Please

Writers will focus on a single moment…zooming right in with words and pictures to make readers feel like they are right there. Writers are encouraged to write about one time they did something and include an interesting beginning and ending. They learn to use transition words, stretch a story with words and pictures over at least three pages and include details.Writers will use tools like the word wall and quick word dictionaries to fix up spelling, stretch out the sounds of words and to use parts of words they know to spell new words.Writers will bring many pieces through the writing process.As students write, end punctuation, word boundaries, and capital letters will be areas of focus in editing.Writers will be rereading for clarity and editing will be an important strategy for students.Writers will collaborate with partners to act out and orally rehearse important moments.Reading and writing instruction will continue to integrate while students notice how writers develop characters with description and elaboration. In the second part of the unit writers will dive into writing small moments stories for the characters they love.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Perseverance

Unit 3 READING

Reading to Learn

Kindergarten readers learned about headings, captions, photos, table of contents and glossaries as they engaged with informational texts.They know how to learn from an author and figure out the main idea and details.Students will dive into non-fiction through the lens of questioning, learning and discovering.Students will compare and contrast how-to, all about and narrative non-fiction books and ask questions to figure out how the author’s main idea and supporting details provide an organizational structure for readers.Readers will actively engage with an author while they wonder, question, learn and evaluate. Students move toward more independence and problem solving in their everyday reading life during this unit.Students will choose just right books that they can read and learn from.They will fill their baskets with many high-interest books about animals, science, math and social studies topics from the class library, the multiple copy collection and the school library.

Reading Skills: Questioning, Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities:Problem Identification, Synthesizing

Unit 3 WRITING

Writers Are Teachers

Kindergarten students proudly wrote How To and All About books using text features to teach readers. Students will review how-to writing.Students will learn how to add how-to and procedures into their all about books as they transfer their learning and write under the influence of mentor authors. Writers will learn how to organize their writing like the authors of the books they are reading and plan a main idea with supporting details through the familiar watermelon and seeds metaphor that your writers used to plan their small moments.Writers will begin by thinking about the topics that they are already experts in! Writers will match their topic, audience, message and purpose to the product they decide to create. First graders know so much about their own hobbies, activities, homes, rooms, sports, nature and families that they can begin writing how-to and all about books right away.As writers learn more about reading to learn they may begin to incorporate some of their reading and research into their later products.Writers will be encouraged to use and add non-fiction text features as they learn more about the genre in reading and write under the influence of mentor authors. Students will publish many books during this unit!

21st Century Capacities:Design, Presentation

Unit 4 READING

Tales

First grade students read and learn about animal characters first in our favorite characters unit and then again in our folk and fairy tales unit. Though many students are familiar with movie versions of folk and fairy tales and enjoy the genre as a magical princess genre, our first grade readers will dive into folk and fairy tales with a more critical lens as you use inquiry and comparing and contrasting of folk and fairy tale characters, settings, problems and structure to build on their comprehension and understanding of the genre.Students will focus on the concept of good vs. evil as you explore the flat characters that writers of tales create in the traditional story arc that reveals a clear lesson to readers.They will build a shared understanding of many traditional tales in our first grade curriculum.They will read many versions of the traditional stories and include some funny versions of tales. Your readers will extend their reading powers in a variety of genres. Students will set goals for themselves as readers.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 4 WRITING

Writing Traditional Tales

Writers will enthusiastically be making their own traditional tales and fairy tales.Students will write under the influence of mentor authors and tales while adding their own imagination to teach a traditional message that is modernized for readers today. Writers will continue to build their knowledge of writing small moments and learn to add details to oral and written stories as they act out, draft and revise. Acting out will help writers capture how their characters look and move and write dialogue, description and actions to help readers visualize and predict while they read. Writers and readers will study the language and structure of traditional tales and fairy tales and incorporate it into their own tales. Writing partnerships will grow in importance as writers try out new ideas with partners who will give feedback and suggestions to make the story even better.Students will work with partners throughout this unit to imagine and take risks for new versions of traditional tales.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Product Creation

Unit 5 READING

Reading Rocks the Stage

This unit is a celebration of first grade reading growth with an emphasis on performance and collaboration. Students will revisit loved characters, tackle more complex texts with characters and learn how to analyze a scene and bring it to life as a performance.In this unit, students will try many interpretations of scenes, question alternate views and use gestures, voice and narrators to help their readers understand the stories.Students will take part in this reader’s theater without elaborate sets or costumes.Students to be creative and expressive using only the simplest props to help convey meaning to their audience.

Reading Skills: Envisioning, Analyzing

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Collective Intelligence

Unit 5 WRITING

Writers Make Their Mark and Sell it to the World

In this unit, students will practice opinion writing in the form of writing about reading and book reviews. Students will have the opportunity to perform commercials for loved texts during a culminating readers’ theatre performance.This unit is all about student engagement and writing to persuade with an opinion and an audience in mind.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Product Creation

Grade 2

Grade 2 - ELA Curriculum Overview 2016-2017

UNITDESCRIPTION

Unit 1 READING

Taking Charge of our Reading Lives

This unit launches the reader’s workshop.Students establish routines, expectations, class library and they learn the role of reflection and goal setting in the classroom.Taking the time to establish the routines for thinking and talking about texts during interactive read aloud will lay an important foundation in this unit.Students will be reading aloud and talking about texts each day in the workshop.There is a focus on accountable talk to deepen conversations and students will use a readers’ notebook as a place to keep and reflect on reading logs, I want to read lists and pictures and drawings related to read texts.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Predicting

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Collective Intelligence

Unit 1 WRITING

Taking Charge of our Writing Lives

In this unit, students will learn risk-taking, agency and reflection. They will learn the routines and procedures of the writer’s workshop.Throughout the unit, writers will learn to reflect on their stamina, topic selection and writing craft as they work to use a writer’s notebook for collecting and experimenting with ideas, genres, and craft.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Imagining

Unit 2 READING

Getting to Know Picture Book Characters

Students will continue to be motivated and engaged in reading and writing in this unit. Students will read books with favorite characters and explore well-loved series thoughtfully and repeatedly to figure out how and why readers see themselves and people they know in the characters they read about.Students will take part in guided reading and independent reading will include a variety of genres throughout the school year. The read aloud is a time when students will practice the thinking and talking about texts that leads them to future success in writing about reading. Entries in reading response journals will include conversations with partners for rehearsal before the drawing, labeling and writing takes place.

Reading Skills: Visualizing, Inferring

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 2 WRITING

Bringing Small Moments to Life

Students wrote small moments in first grade that focused on one moment that really happened in their lives. They learned to choose a topic and stretch out the moment by adding description, action, thoughts and feelings. In this unit, students will continue this work based on goals gleaned from flash drafts. Students will become independent writers, using what they learn in the lessons.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Design

Unit 3 READING

Author Study: Cynthia Rylant

Students will be immersed in the work of Cynthia Rylant to model how writers choose topics from everyday experiences and write about them in many ways.Readers will work collaboratively to make important connections between Rylant texts and the problems and feelings characters experience.Students will take part in guided reading and independent reading.

Reading Skills:Making Connections, Interpreting

21st Century Capacities:Analyzing, Synthesizing

Unit 3 WRITING

Writing Under the Influence of Cynthia Rylant

During this unit, students will write under the influence of author Cynthia Rylant. Students will choose topics that are important to them and will write a great volume of small moment narratives – adding layers of craft moves to their repertoire and using all they know as they plan and draft new pieces or revise drafts.Writers will have the opportunity to truly live their lives as writers under the influence of Cynthia Rylant.They will write about everyday moments that are important to them. Students will use the Narrative Writing checklist to measure their progress and make goals for writing as well as analyze the work and craft of Rylant that they’d like to try out in their own work.Writers will take many pieces through the writing process, using all they know each time they sit down to write, improving each first draft as they hone craft of revision and include higher level writing through planning and drafting.

21st Century Capacities:Reflection, Product Creation

Unit 4 READING

Reading Informational Books to Learn and Wonder

In this unit, students will help to organize the classroom nonfiction library in order to build excitement and “I want to read lists”.Students will learn about a social studies or science topic using a large whole class inquiry chart right from the beginning of the unit.Students will learn how to use the text features right away to try to answer questions using the author’s pictures, text and structures.Students will understand that readers do the work of answering questions that come up immediately.Students will analyze how authors anticipate and answer most reader questions right there in the text using a variety of text features and structures to do so.The final part of the unit leads students to project based learning where they will conduct an inquiry of The Read and Wonder series, create a grade level criteria, and then write a book for the series.They will be introduced to a variety of narrative nonfiction in this unit to be sure students know there are many publishers and authors who create narrative nonfiction texts.

Reading Skills: Questioning, Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing

Unit 4 WRITING

Writing Informational Books with Purpose

First graders wrote How-To and All About Books and are familiar with using text features as writers.They planned a topic with a main idea and created chapters with headings to teach readers all about a topic, often including a how-to page.The second graders will become information writers as they continue to learn from mentor informational authors in reading and apply what they are learning as readers to their writing lives.They will learn to how write expository nonfiction and narrative nonfiction.They will learn how to choose the most effective medium to share important information and match their style and tone – always thinking about the reader and what they will need from the writer in order to not only understand but be engaged and interested in the book.Students will continue to write in a great volume, trying out many topics to teach to readers.Students will engage in the process of reading non-fiction text and will learn how the text features of a non-fiction selection help us understand what we read. Students will explore how authors of non-fiction purposefully choose text features to help their reader understand their purpose and message.Students will discuss their schema and new learning orally to explain how their thinking changes before, during and after reading.Students will reflect on what they learned and what they still want to learn after reading a non-fiction text.

Unit 5 READING

Learning Lessons from Traditional Stories

First graders read many folk tales and created their own tales which they wrote and then produced as readers’ theatre.They are familiar with the genre and know that many tales use a good vs. evil structure to teach readers a lesson.You’ll expand students’ knowledge of traditional literature with a focus on fables, trickster tales and pourquoi tales in this unit.Readers will continue to choose independent books in a variety of genres.They will track how characters change and grow and navigate the unassigned dialogue that appears in these levels.

Reading Skills: Critiquing, Making Connections - Personal/World/Text

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Collective Intelligence, Product Creation

Unit 5 WRITING

Writing About Lessons Learned

In this unit students nominate characters for an award celebration that you’ll hold in your classroom.Students will return to reviewing characters and create categories for nominations as they analyze what made them want to read about the adventures, problems and choices that characters make.Students will work to create baskets of books in their classroom library.Categories like funniest character, sneakiest character, best series, strangest character, coolest information books, etc. might be good starting places.Students will share interests and ideas as they create categories for their favorite books and characters of the year and then write opinion letters to prove their ideas and interpretations.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Synthesizing

Grade 3

UNITDESCRIPTION

Unit 1 READING

Ownership: Readers are Thinkers

Students will learn how and why readers are independent problem solvers who create goals and use literacy to learn and teach.Third grade readers are familiar with workshop routines like turn and talk, interactive read aloud, stopping and jotting and writing about reading.Students will interact with authors and with their peers to grow and change their thinking about read texts.Students will try out new genres, new friendships and partnerships and to take risks as readers and writers who problem solve, set goals and reflect critically on their own learning and thinking.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Predicting

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Collective Intelligence

Unit 1 WRITING

Ownership: Writers Have A Voice Writer’s Notebook

Third grade students will arrive as writers who craft small moments with detail and description. They are experienced in using a writer’s notebook and the writing process to create powerful writing in a variety of genres.The launch will focus on the power a writer’s voice projects – as students find ways their own writing can impact the lives of others and call an audience to action.This unit focuses on creating writers who use their notebooks productively to gather, mine and experiment with writing topics and analyze their own work to set goals and work hard on revision to raise the level of their narrative writing craft.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Imagining

Unit 2 READING

Realistic Fiction: Characters Across Series

In this unit, students explore the techniques that writers use to breathe life into realistic fiction. Students will focus on how authors and characters make readers think about problems and solve them.The work of inferring and interpretation will help writers develop internally developed characters who get in and out of trouble. A high volume of reading is the most important goal as they engage with characters to get to know them well and to understand how the characters they read about are the same and different from themselves and people they know.

Reading Skills: Visualizing, Inferring

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 2 WRITING

Realistic Fiction: Writing Stories with Believable Characters and Problems

Students will develop characters and getting to know them well by thinking about how the character would act and react in a variety of situations and settings.They will story tell and will write long about their characters and create a variety of situations to grow and develop their characters, problems and settings while working in reading to notice how mentor authors develop characters internally and externally and hook readers into caring about the characters and story.Students will publish a story and move on to use all they know as writers of realistic fiction to plan and draft new stories for their characters or create new realistic fiction characters and stories.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Product Creation

Unit 3 READING

Informational Text Structures: Tackling More Complex Text

In this unit third graders transition from fiction reading towards work in informational texts.Students will recognize and use the text structure a nonfiction author uses to design note-taking. Students will write a pair of nonfiction texts on a topic in writing during this unit – one expository and the other literary. You’ll move students from recognizing and using text features to recognizing and using text structures to aid in comprehension and analysis of the author’s main idea and supporting details.This important reading work provides a bridge to the main writing work that students will do as they move from being writers of topics they know a lot about to researchers who write about the information that they have synthesized from many sources with consideration of the many perspectives authors bring to nonfiction.

Reading Skills:Questioning, Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities:Analyzing, Collective Intelligence

Unit 3 WRITING

Informational Text Structures: Tackling More Complex Text

Students will write many non-fiction texts on a topic in writing during this unit – at least one expository and the other literary. Students may want to pursue writing magazine articles, news stories, literary and expository pieces as they experiment with ways to teach a variety of audiences about the topic. Students will use text features and structures purposefully to teach about a topic.The important reading work provides a bridge to the main writing work that students will do as they move from being writers of topics they know a lot about to researchers who write about the information that they have synthesized from many sources with consideration of the many perspectives authors bring to nonfiction.

21st Century Capacities:Imagining, Product Creation

Unit 4 READING

Biography: What Makes a Person Important?

Students will explore and evaluate biographies to determine the importance of an individual to his or her community, to the world and to our own lives today.Realizing the difference between famous and important people through inquiry and discussion about how and why people we read about impact our own lives will lead students to engagement in the genre. Students will create an understanding of major time periods throughout history as they research and learn about problem solving in technology, communication, transportation, science and social justice.Students will work to gather evidence and research from many sources that represent a variety of viewpoints as they suspend judgment until they have analyzed and evaluated multiple perspectives and positions to arrive at a conclusion.

Reading Skills: Synthesizing, Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Problem Identification

Unit 4 WRITING

Persuasive Writing: Combining persuasive moves to build an argument

As students explore and evaluate biographies to determine the author’s perspectives and form their own opinions, they will work as writers to develop and forward their own voices and perspectives as persuasive writers. They will work to convince an audience to join them in a cause for change. Working collaboratively to discuss and argue points and counterpoints will help students plan and revise their work before creating drafts.Writers of persuasion think about things they have strong opinions about – students will choose the audience most likely to help them make a change and write to different audiences in different ways in order to grow their cause. Students use inquiry of persuasive writing from editorials, songs, speeches and letters to help plan and consider opposing arguments as they decide the evidence they will include persuading their audience.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Imagining

Unit 5 READING

Fractured Tales and Fables: Getting the Message

This unit focuses on extending third graders’ appreciation and knowledge of traditional literature by lifting them to the humor and lessons taught through fractured tales.Readers will continue to self-select and independently read a wide variety of genres throughout this unit.Though they may be tempted to live their reading lives only in the tales genre, students will broaden their application of narrative learning to realistic fiction, picture books and build their non-fiction lives by reading about cultures, countries and science topics that might deepen their understanding and perspective on tales. Figurative language, situational understanding of vocabulary and phrases will offer opportunities for close reading and direct instruction of the self-monitoring and correcting work that readers must do at these levels.

Reading Skills: Critiquing, Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing

Unit 5 WRITING

Fractured Tales: Making What’s Old New

Students will transfer all they have learned as readers and writers of narratives and tales and move to crafting their own fractured tales.They will consider and create tales from a new perspective – perhaps the bad guys’ – to create a new twist on a classic tale that employs an understanding of modern problems and characters. Students will write in great volume throughout the unit and set goals as they go to plan, draft, revise and edit.The goal throughout this unit is to build motivation and engagement and foster the risk taking and enthusiasm for creative writing that will allow the literacy community to live happily ever after.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Imagining

Grade 4

UnitDescription

Unit 1 READING

Ownership-Readers Are Thinkers

Establishing the class library as the heart of the reading community is an important goal so students get excited about the books in the room and start talking and thinking about the books right away. The teacher models a rich reading life that is based in authentic collection of ideas and writing about reading in a notebook. Students gather evidence to support their ideas about the craft, topics, genres, and goals that are important to them. Students strengthen their reading habits through a large volume of reading and stamina building. Students start a class reading log to monitor their reading lives and set goals for themselves as readers by reflecting on rate of reading, text selection, comparing and contrasting titles and discuss their thinking with other readers. Children set goals throughout the unit around accountable talk, partner reading, book selection and stamina. Teachers read aloud many books including those by authors Patricia Polacco and Jacqueline Woodson that will lay a foundation for the second unit on characters and provide a rich opportunity for the social emotional goals teachers have for their students and community. The skills of telling and then writing summaries and predictions in the reading notebook are important in the launch unit. Charts with authentic student work serves to engage readers in reflection and encourage meaningful goal setting based on strategies the teacher has taught.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Visualizing, Predicting

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Collective Intelligence

Unit 1 WRITING

Ownership: Writers Have A Voice Writer’s Notebook

Students will gather as writers to explore topics that are important to them. To encourage volume and stamina, children will draw, scrapbook, write and plan as they reflect, observe and notice ideas, moments, people and places that are important to them.

In this unit, students will reflect on a previously written narrative piece to set goals for themselves when they write new narratives.

At the end of the unit, students will reflect on their notebooks and best work in order to reflect on success and set new writing goals.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Imagining

Unit 2 READING

Tackling Trouble: Analyzing Characters & Problems to Interpret Theme

This unit pushes readers to build on inference work in order to interpret themes. Readers will be taught that themes emerge from the way characters react and get in and out of trouble across a text. Reading partners and book clubs focus their work on growing and changing theories about characters as they consider multiple perspectives and interpretations of an author’s message and realize that engaged discussion can reveal another way of interpreting a character’s actions and motivations. This work will leave readers open to a variety of interpretations and lead to the transfer of critical thinking across texts. Classroom charts will be created in order to track how characters change and develop in a story to reveal theme and teach lessons.

Students will explore how to make deeper and more important inferences and to move interpretation work from a “lesson learned in this book” to a more universal interpretation of a theme from a life lesson perspective.

Reading Skills: Inferencing, Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 2 WRITING

Literary Essay

Reading and writing are tightly aligned in this unit as students will write about reading by building on analysis and interpretation of character feelings, traits, and problems to understand the themes and messages that authors write about. Students will transfer and build writing about reading to the literacy essay as the reading and thinking work will be matched between characters in Reader’s Workshop to writing about reading with evidence. This will meaningfully prepare students to write their literary essay. In Bend I, the class will work collaboratively to write a model literary essay; this scaffolding readies the student for writing. In Bend II, students will write their own literary essays.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation

Unit 3 READING

Fantasy

Fourth graders have read myths, legends, and traditional tales which lay a foundation for understanding how fantasy authors draw on the traditions of narrative tales to create fantastical stories and quests that reveal messages about heroism and good vs. evil. Fantasy is often about the emergence of something good, even in the darkest times or in the weakest of us. It’s likely that theme - of the essential goodness and courage of mankind - that makes fantasy stories so hopeful, intense, and ultimately satisfying.

Students will delve into what the story is really about by exploring the psychological and physical journey of the character, the importance of setting, and recognizing how the writer makes the story believable so the reader is able to suspend disbelief.

Reading Skills: Interpreting

21st Century Capacities:Analyzing

Unit 3 WRITING

Fantasy

Fourth grade writers will be reading fantasy and will try some of the craft ideas they read in these texts such as fantastical worlds and magical objects or characters. From their work as readers of fantasy students learn that heroes are flawed; villains have motivations; and characters tend to go on quests that end happily. Students will use qualities from past units, especially narrative, and take a fantasy piece through the writing process. Students will carefully study the usual structures of fantasy: one starts in the real world and then the characters are transported to a magical one (as in Narnia or Harry Potter) and another is one that creates, right from the start, an alternate reality, often one which has a kind of medieval quality to it, with castles, dragons, monarchies, and legends. Students will review the significance of a good lead and ending, showing emotions/feelings - not just telling, and storytelling rather than summarizing. Writers will spend time thinking of characters, settings, and problems that fantasy stories can include and learn to make thoughtful choices to piece them together.

21st Century Capacities:Product Creation, Imagining

Unit 4 READING

How Writers Engage Readers

In this unit, readers and writers will engage in a variety of nonfiction texts. Students will explore various authors who use different structures, craft and styles to teach readers. Students will compare and contrast work thinking about the audience, purpose and message of the text – and utilize their critical thinking and reflection skills to help them think about their own learning. There is a focus on the perspective and position that authors take on a topic to make readers think or feel a certain way; students will notice that authors write with bias. Students will read closely to figure out if the author proves his or her position with facts and examples. Reading partners will be encouraged to talk about author’s positions and to ask if they agree or disagree and then prove why. Students will also practice note-taking and writing about reading in readers’ notebooks as they collect information, questions and thinking while reading and researching. These notes will help readers with their informational writing process.

Reading Skills: Synthesizing and Questioning

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing

Unit 4 WRITING

Combining Persuasive Moves to Build an Argument: How do actions and choices impact the world around us?

As students explore and evaluate nonfiction texts to determine the author's perspectives and form their own opinions, they will work as writers to develop and forward their own voices and perspectives as persuasive writers. They will work to convince an audience to join them in a cause for change.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Reflection, Citizenship

Unit 5 READING

Interpreting History through Many Lenses

Reading and writing units are tightly integrated once again as students carry informational reading and research strategies taught in unit 4 to building knowledge and designing research questions while reading historical fiction. Students will learn to take both a critical and empathetic stance to historical perspectives and experiences as they immerse in reading and research clubs of historical time periods.

Reading Skills: Synthesizing and Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing

Unit 5 WRITING

“Interpreting History Through Many Lenses” Presentation

Students will transfer informational reading and research skills to this collaborative unit where they will research a time period and work with a group to create a presentation that teaches readers about the time period. Though students will be working in a group, they will be creating their own inquiry questions to research the obstacles and problems that people faced within the time period they choose. The group will work with a shared text set and discuss their findings as they work toward creating a presentation or performance that best shares their information with the intended audience.

Students will work collaboratively to create a rubric to measure the performances and then use the rubric to revise and refine their work.

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Presentation

Grade 5


UNITDESCRIPTION

Unit 1 READING

Ownership-Readers and Writers are Thinkers

Students are familiar with the routines and procedures of choosing a variety of just right books, accountable talk, working with reading partners and book clubs and have worked to evaluate and justify with text evidence when writing about reading.Setting up the routines and procedures will help a community of readers choose, talk about and read books critically.The primary goal is to set the stage for engaging a community of avid readers who read, think, talk and write about books in great volume. During this unit, reading partnerships will be launched, in order to give students practice and opportunity to take and make reading journeys through a book more meaningful.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Predicting, Visualizing

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Collective Intelligence, Product Creation

Unit 1 WRITING

Ownership: Writers Have A Voice Writer’s Notebook

Fifth graders are familiar with using a notebook to gather and explore ideas for writing.Students will write every day and guard their notebooks while taking them from school to home each day in order to gather the important ideas and moments that they will grow into process writing pieces throughout the school year.The notebook should be filled with images and ideas that will help the writer get unstuck on those days that all writers have - when there seem to be no ideas to write about.The notebook serves two purposes - to catch all the ideas that overflow in the spur of the moment and to provide a playground for experimenting with ideas and topics to explore by writing long, trying out new techniques and craft.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Collective Intelligence, Imagining

Unit 2 READING

Tackling Trouble: Analyzing Characters

Third and Fourth grade students analyzed and wrote realistic fiction stories with an eye on author’s message and interpreting theme.They know that following character traits, motivation and trouble reveals author’s message.Fourth grade students wrote about theme in their readers’ notebooks and are familiar with tracking a theory about a character across a text.This unit pushes students to view characters through windows and mirrors and to react to the citizenship modeled in stories.They’ll talk with reading partners about their inferences and theories.The conversation and interpreting work based on gathering and discussing text evidence will lay an important foundation for book club conversations and the kind of thinking that leads writers toward the work of literary essay.

Reading Skills: Predicting, Inferring, Growing Ideas About Characters and Relationships (Analyzing)

21st Century Capacities: Citizenship, Analyzing, Product Creation

Unit 2 WRITING

Tackling Trouble: Writing Characters, Problems to Develop Theme

Students started to explore narrative writing while creating territories and mining ideas in their writer's’ notebooks,in unit 1.The students will progress through the writing process to create a published personal narrative piece.Some students will be ready to write memoirs based in an issue or theme.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Design

Unit 3 READING

“Non-Fiction: Researching with Texts”

Fourth grade readers compared and contrasted the structures, purpose, tone and craft of various authors to dive into the world of literary nonfiction written with the purpose of inviting readers into reading as an inquiry into a topic.They also worked in collaborative groups to study time periods and create nonfiction writing.Students will consider the truth or facts about a topic,and analyze and determine the author’s perspective on the truth.Students will learn to research an author’s background and to read about the author and author’s notes critically to synthesize information and come to their own positions and conclusions. Students will work to design and execute a research plan in a collaborative group to dive into topic through a variety of angles and questions.Though the group will work collaboratively, each student will tackle the issue through a different inquiry question.Readers will continue their research in clubs and begin moving toward writing persuasive research essays.

Reading Skills: Questioning, Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities:Problem Identification, Analyzing

Unit 3 WRITING

Wondering, Researching, Writing...Research Reports

Students will learn how to present information in an organized manner, relying heavily on their inquiries and notetaking skills from reading a variety of non-fiction resources. The immersion into the genre as readers will drive your students to imitate the writing styles of the authors they are reading. Your students will be writing and dabbling using a variety of non-fiction formats and products.

21st Century Capacities:Synthesizing, Product Creation

Unit 4 READING

Interpreting Social Themes

This unit moves student thinking up a notch up from inferring character traits and motivation and justifying their inferences with both text evidence and schema to interpreting the themes that authors reveal through the troubles characters face.Issues may include bullying, friendship, fitting in, divorce, etc.Students will move from collecting individually, to working productively with a partner and then to launching book clubs.Third and fourth grade students worked in book clubs and will likely bring some collaboration skills as you teach students to come prepared with specific ideas, questions and interpretations to discuss in depth.

Reading Skills: Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Collective Intelligence

Unit 4 WRITING

Literary Essay

Students will do the heavy lifting work of rehearsing and revising interpretations of literature in their social issues book clubs.Using the theories that students developed in book clubs using a variety of text they will write literary essays.The focus might be on theme, character analysis, importance of setting, author’s craft, changes of character from beginning to end of story, etc.Some students will use one text while others will compare and contrast using multiple texts.The end product will include a thesis, supporting details from their book(s), organization using paragraphs, and conclusions which may include connections back to the writer’s own life.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation

Unit 5 READING

Unlocking the Mystery

Readers will analyze the patterns and craft of mystery writing in this unit in order to engage student motivation for reading and writing in this high-interest genre.Students will note and notice how authors weave characters and plot to keep readers predicting as they try to solve the mystery before the end of the story.

Reading Skills: Predicting, Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence

Unit 5 WRITING

Planning and Writing Mystery

This unit starts with the inquiry of the predictable patterns, structures and essential characters of the mystery genre. Students will plan a plot timeline and develop their scenes as they begin to write their own mysteries by making deliberate choices.

21st Century Capacities: Design, Reflection

Unit 6 READING

Historical Fiction Book Clubs-Mini Unit

In this unit, students will build on the work of fourth grade in which they took a critical and empathetic stance to historical perspectives and experiences.Students will be immersed in reading historical fiction centered around the American Revolution, Slavery, Civil War, Industrialization, Immigration, Westward Expansion, and World War II.

21st Century Skills: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing

Reading Skills: Synthesizing, Interpreting, Visualizing


Grade 6

UnitDescription

Unit 1 READING

Ownership and Agency

This unit lays the foundation for readers workshop routines, procedures and expectations while launching students to be reflective goal setters who collaborate respectfully both in and out of the classroom. Readers will share thoughts and ideas and engage in evidence based discourse.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Visualizing, Predicting

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Collective Intelligence

Unit 1 WRITING

Ownership: Writers Have A Voice - Writer’s Notebook

This launch unit establishes motivation and engagement in writing and encourages students to take responsibility for gathering topics, setting goals and taking risks in writing. Using the writer’s notebook as well as a variety of tools including SMART Phones, cameras and social media is a way to gather the moments, ideas and problems that we encounter in our everyday lives. Students will examine ideas that are important and interesting and imagine a variety of ways to write about them.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Reflection

Unit 2 READING

Tackling Trouble: Analyzing Characters and Problems to Interpret Theme

Fifth graders worked in realistic fiction stories to interpret universal themes and collaborated in book clubs both in social studies and language arts to develop, discuss and revise theories in preparation for writing literary essays. Students are experienced in coming to partnerships prepared with questions and evidence to discuss. The complexity of the texts will present new applications for students to do the work of interpretation and compare and contrast characters and themes across multiple texts. Readers’ Notebooks will serve as important tools for gathering thoughts and evidence.

Reading Skills: Interpreting, Inferring

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing

Unit 2 WRITING

Writing About Reading - Literary Essay

Fifth grade students wrote literary essays during their social issues book clubs. Students developed thematic and character analysis essays based on thinking, talking and collaborating work that they did in reading book clubs. Students will lift the level of essay writing and keep the message that writers always consider their audience, purpose and message when writing and include craft moves and voice that make writing interesting to read. Readers’ Notebooks from the reading unit will serve as springboards and help students use and further develop their ideas and evidence as they draft and revise essays.

21st Century Capacities: Design, Analyzing

Unit 3 READING

Debate: Building an Argument to Persuade

This unit will start by building engagement with nonfiction texts through inquiry-based instruction. The spirit of this unit is for students to start finding engagement, learning, and wondering in informational reading which will eventually lead to research. Students will have opportunities to read many informational texts gathered in the classroom and library. Throughout this unit, there is an emphasis on critical reading, explaining reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, and drawing evidence from informational text to support analysis, reflection and research. After collecting and synthesizing the information gleaned from the reading, students will write an argument essay.

Reading Skills: Interpreting, Critiquing

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing

Unit 3 WRITING

Argument Essay

Students will learn how to present information in an organized manner, relying heavily on their inquiries and notetaking skills from reading a variety of nonfiction resources. The overall goal of this unit is to teach students to be more persuasive and more analytic, able to weigh evidence, to follow lines of logic, and draw evidence-based conclusions.

Students will be writing a research based argument essay.

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Product Creation

Unit 4

Fantasy Book Clubs

In this unit of study, students will become more powerful readers of fantasy by building their facility with complex texts and maintaining their collaborative interpretation skills in book clubs as they explore the new worlds and settings. Students will be introduced to the Hero’s Journey, and guide them through interpreting the elements that set the fantasy genre apart from other genres, paying close attention as they read, assuming that all details matter, and accumulating and synthesizing a tremendous density of information.

Students will be reading their novels with partners/small groups to analyze the hero’s journey, character archetypes, and themes.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence, Design

Unit 5 READING

Short Stories: Writing Under the Influence of Narrative Authors

Students will be immersed in the short story genre to read like writers for the purpose of analysis and goal setting. Students will use reader's notebooks to analyze and deconstruct plots, characters, settings and craft moves to help them model and plan for writing their own original short story.

Since students have already done some work with these elements in earlier grades, this unit is approximately three weeks in duration.

Reading Skills: Interpreting, Evaluating

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Unit 5 WRITING

Writing Short Stories

Fifth grade students wrote personal narratives and mysteries in the narrative genre. They worked to develop scenes and characters with a variety of planning tools. Students will develop short stories with a universal theme embedded throughout the writing process.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Design

Grade 7

Reading Unit 1: Agency and Ownership

Unit 1 Reading

During the launch of readers workshop students will focus on responsibility, independence, and reflection. Teachers will help establish classroom routines and procedures including student and teacher responsibilities for mini-lessons, reading conferences, preparation, planning, accountable talk and using the class library. As students choose and read just right books purposefully, the focus will move from talking about reading to writing about reading and launch reading response journals while teaching students how and why readers set goals for book choice, stamina, talking and writing about reading and reading with purpose.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Visualizing, Predicting

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Reflection

Writing Unit 1: Launching Writer's Workshop with Memoir

Unit 1 Writing

This launch unit establishes motivation and engagement in writing as the teacher models and encourages students to take responsibility for gathering topics, setting goals and taking risks in writing. An emphasis will be on the importance of examining ideas that are important and interesting and imagining a variety of ways to write about them.

Seventh grade students are experienced narrative writers. They’ve explored personal narrative, personal essay, short stories, realistic fiction and mystery writing in workshop. They use dialogue, description, and actions to build internal and external characters and set the mood, pace and tone of a piece. Teachers will build on the important theme work readers and writers have done to introduce them to planning and writing a memoir with a specific audience, purpose, and message in mind. Writers will also work with partners to set goals and reflect together using checklists and mentor writing.

21st Century Capacities: Design, Reflection

Reading Unit 2: Analyzing Theme Through Character

Unit 2 Reading

Students will apply the signposts learned in the launch unit to help grow their thinking and awareness about characters in this reading unit. At the same time, students will extend the work of character inference and use it to develop themes. They will work in book club partnerships to first learn important strategies for gathering and talking about ideas, and then to analyze how authors embed theme in character, conflict, and trouble. Reading clubs will help push students toward collaborative inquiry work as they walk in the shoes of characters and lift interpretation work toward universal themes. Reading and writing work will be tightly integrated as students use their readers' notebooks to gather and analyze evidence that will drive their writing of literary essays in the next unit. The classic young adult novel, The Outsiders, serves as the mentor text for modeling, understanding, and applying the unit's concepts.

Reading Skills: Inferring, Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Writing Unit 2: Writing About Reading - The Literary Essay

Unit 2 Writing

Students will be writing about their reading to build stamina and connect the thinking they do about specific texts to larger, life-lessons. This practice transfers to the literary essay writing students will be doing in this unit. Students will be taught how to develop strong claims about the texts they are reading. Individual and small group conferences will be conducted in response to students’ needs in order to improve their writing skills. They will be producing a variety of writing with message, audience, and purpose in mind. Finally, students will publish a final theme-based literary essay.

21st Century Capacities: Design, Production Creation

Reading Unit 3: Critical Reading of Informational Texts

Unit 3 Reading

A goal of this unit is to build engagement in informational texts through inquiry-based instruction. Students will have access to many informational texts in the classroom and will sort books and articles into text sets that will set them up for the compare and contrast work that will drive this unit.

Students will compare and contrast the craft moves, style, content and structure that authors use to engage readers to care about a cause or issue while emphasizing the importance of determining the credibility of a source and author’s bias.

Reading Skills: Questioning and Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence

Writing Unit 3: Research Based Argument Essay

Unit 3 Writing

The end of the informational reading unit leads directly into the research-based persuasive essay. Students will write their first draft of the research essay by conducting group research about a topic they care about and then debate about these topics. Students will establish and support positions matched to a specific audience, purpose and message, move to more focused arguments, and then recraft their piece to match a more global audience.

21st Century Capacities: Production Creation, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 4 Historical Fiction

Unit 4

This historical fiction unit allows students to tackle more complex texts building on the foundations learned in nonfiction. Students will learn how to build collective interpretations, how to listen closely to each other in book clubs, and how to carry ideas across time. Readers will investigate the special role of setting in historical fiction novels, accumulate and synthesize details using reading tools such as timelines and graphic organizers, and be reminded to bring what they know of reading fiction into their work. Importantly, students will learn to empathize with complex characters while reading critically through the lenses of perspective and power. Essentially, students will learn that reading teaches us all how to live.

Reading Skills: Synthesizing and Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Alternate Perspectives

Reading Unit 5: Exceptionalities

Unit 5 Reading

Reinforcing reading engagement through self-reflection and inquiry will be an important objective in this unit and the formation of book clubs will help in this endeavor. Throughout the course of the unit, students take responsibility for their own journey of discovery as to what is an exceptionality and what is a disability? Teachers will model and coach effective discourse and digging for a deeper look at exceptionalities within the world of their book club novels. Later, readers observe how exceptionalities affect character’s emotions, actions, and life choices, and teachers will guide students to examine the impact on secondary characters. By the end of the unit, students will internalize the universality of the author’s message as they synthesize all of the texts and experiences they have encountered and explored.

Reading Skills: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives, Making Connections

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Alternate Perspectives

Grade 8

Reading Unit 1: Ownership and Agency

Unit 1 Reading

Teachers launch readers workshop in the classroom with a focus on responsibility, independence, and reflection, establishing classroom routines and procedures. This includes student and teacher responsibilities for mini-lessons, reading conferences, preparation, planning, accountable talk, and use of the class library. As students choose and read “just right” books purposefully, teachers move them from talking about reading to writing about reading. Reading response journals will be an integral part of instruction and assessment as students learn how and why readers set goals. Another major portion of the unit is student collaboration where they will learn to work respectfully and responsibly with others, exchanging and evaluating ideas to achieve a common objective. Goal setting will cover a variety of areas such as book choice, stamina, talking and writing about reading, and reading with purpose.

Reading Skills: Summarizing, Envisioning, Predicting

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Collective Intelligence

Writing Unit 1: Ownership: Writers Have A Voice - Writer’s Notebook

Writing Unit 1

This launch unit establishes motivation and engagement in writing as teachers model and encourage students to take responsibility for gathering topics, setting goals, and taking risks in writing. Teachers model the idea that we write in our notebooks (both hardcopy and digital) using a variety of tools including devices, cameras, and social media to gather the moments, ideas and problems that we encounter in our everyday lives. Emphasized is the importance of examining ideas that are important and interesting and imagining a variety of ways to write about them.

Writers gather and experiment with ideas that will be returned to later on and write about in a variety of ways. Modeling with teacher’s own writer’s notebook lays the foundation for engagement and risk-taking in writing throughout the school year.

Students will read and write outside the classroom on a regular basis to continue building agency, engagement, and stamina in both reading and writing. After editing and revising, students have the opportunity to publish their work via blog, literary magazines, or amongst peers.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Reflection

Reading Unit 2: The Hero’s Journey in Literature and Life

Reading Unit 2

After the launch unit where students set reading plans, created goals, and reviewed comprehension strategies, students now move to learning and recognizing the archetypical pattern of the hero’s journey in literature and film. Through this understanding of the journey, students will be able to analyze text on a deeper level using knowledge of the hero’s journey stages in addition to evaluating the author's choices in a variety of media. Finally, students think critically about characters and reflect on themselves and the world around them.

Reading Skills: Making Connections, Inferring

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Writing Unit 2: Narrative Writing

Writing Unit 2

As seventh graders, students have written a narrative piece and will use the skills checklist to self-assess their own strengths and weaknesses and set goals for narrative writing. To help generate more ideas and add to what they have begun in their notebooks, students will revisit their writing territories and brainstorm new characters, settings, conflicts, etc., through new inspiration to create story blurbs to pitch to their groups. For example, students may have come up with an interesting character that they then would imagine a setting and conflict for to flesh out an actual pitch for a story. Each group member would bring their own pitch to the group. The collaborative groups will then decide on a direction for their story and co-create a narrative using Google docs that will follow the structure of the hero’s journey. Created by Joseph Campbell, the hero’s journey archetype is a tool to create a successful story arc that students will learn and then apply to a novel situation with their own original ideas.

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Imagining

Reading Unit 3: Interpreting Dystopian Novels

Reading Unit 3

The literary genre of Dystopian, while not new, has made a significant resurgence in young adult literature. In this warped version of a utopia, the structure of a government-designed society is the antagonist in the story. As students enter into these dark worlds where the protagonists must struggle for physical and/or moral survival, they explore the way authors alter our world to create the strange new world of dystopian texts. Through their interpretation of how the setting affects the characters, students will examine the social commentary the author is making while they also uncover universal themes.

Throughout this unit, students will be using information from the text to support their analysis of how the specific dystopian setting affects the story and how the author’s message is delivered to readers to make some kind of social commentary. Finally, students will make connections among our world, the world the author has created, and history to demonstrate an understanding of the social issues the author is highlighting in the text.

Reading Skills: Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Writing Unit 3: Literary Analysis

Writing Unit 3

After reading two or more dystopian texts, students will choose one or more elements of dystopian literature to compare/contrast in a literary essay. Students must synthesize pieces of their analysis of both texts with their understanding of the characteristics of dystopian literature to create an original thesis. Through the process of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing, students will then prove that thesis with critical evidence across texts in a well-written literary analysis.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Product Creation

Reading Unit 4: Reading for Social Issues

Reading Unit 4

Students have completed the dystopian reading unit where they considered the concept of power struggles that arise in government-controlled societies, many of which stemmed from and/or led to social issues. It’s time to take the idea of social issues to their world and the world around them via an open-choice reading unit. Students will read fiction or narrative nonfiction to find the social issues within the text. Students will identify the social issues and through their analysis of character conflict and the motivation for the choices they make, they will discuss the author’s message about the issue. Outside research and current news stories will also inform that discussion. Students will make connections between the text and their own world and/or the world around them. This unit serves as a segue into the Global and Personal Perspectives unit.

Reading Skills: Making Connections, Interpreting

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Writing Unit 4: Journalism: News, Investigation, and Editorial

Writing Unit 4

Students will learn to become keen observers of the world around them to report on newsworthy events quickly and concisely to their readers. In taking a deeper look at the how and the why of those events, students will investigate topics that interest them to consider the different angles of a story, issue, or event. Finally, students will write about an issue they care about in an editorial that uses support for the claim as well as narrative techniques to engage the reader.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation

Reading Unit 5: Global Perspectives

Reading Unit 5

From the power struggles in dystopian societies to the social issues in our world, students have examined the kinds of environments that lead to myriad struggles. Now students will explore how real people have emerged as heroes amidst cultural struggles for power, considering their stories from a global perspective. In examining the structure and techniques of narrative nonfiction, students will consider how authors evoke a reaction in readers and shine a light on global issues. Students will be able to determine a key passage in a narrative nonfiction text and analyze how the author presents a global issue through personal experience. Additionally, using the text’s perspective, their own evolving position on the issue, and the opinions of their peers, students will engage in discourse about global issues and their implications for our lives and our communities. Finally, students will write about a global issue that has affected them personally and that they would like to “shine a light on” for our community as a result of their work in this unit.

Reading Skills: Synthesizing

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing, Engaging in Global Issues

Grade 9

Grade 9 Literature and Writing Curriculum Overview

UnitDescription

Unit 1

It’s All About Me

This unit addresses social-emotional issues that freshmen will have to deal with in their transition to high school. Eighth grade students explored fiction and nonfiction genres in reading and wrote narratives, literary essays and news stories. In this unit students will explore the concepts of morality and decision making while reading various mentor texts that they will examine for style leading up to a personal essay: A type of creative nonfiction, the personal essay is "all over the map," according to Annie Dillard. "There's nothing you can't do with it. No subject matter is forbidden, no structure is prescribed. You get to make up your own form every time" ("To Fashion a Text", 1998).

Teachers can begin taking an inventory of student reading comprehension skills/levels with the short works in this unit to prepare for further exploration in unit 2.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Reflection

Unit 2

From My Perspective

This unit focuses on reading and finding an appropriate text to engage a reader in order to teach skills and concepts such as characterization, theme, and empathy. Teachers will begin the unit by modeling analysis of characters in a shared novel. Students have learned characterization in previous grades and will call on prior knowledge while adding new terms to their understanding. At the midpoint of that novel, teachers should guide each student toward a novel that is of interest to him/her, and at or just above his/her reading level. The independent novel will be used to further explore characterization and theme in lit circle or book club groups. Giving students choice at this point in the year will serve two purposes: engaging students right away and providing data about the kinds of readers in the classroom.

By using a shared text first, teachers are gradually releasing responsibility to the students to accomplish this task. Close reading strategies and organizers can be useful tools to help tie the elements of character and theme together.

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspective, Analyzing, Imagining

Unit 3

Facing Monsters

This unit builds on the first two units in which personal ideals, and ethics/morality are discussed by introducing the idea that in our lives we face adversity both societal and personal that impact us. The idea of monsters ties into the anchor text(s) The Odyssey, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Stevenson, Monster - Myers, and A Monster Calls- Ness. This link easily connects these works and allows for in depth discussion of literal and metaphorical elements in literature. Students will begin the unit with an inquiry lesson that focuses their thinking on the major concepts and themes of the unit. Beginning the unit with an oral reading of the popular story Where the Wild Things Are introduces the two of the main ideas behind this unit- Monsters and oral storytelling. Teachers may choose to ask students to tell stories they remember from their own childhood that have become oral traditions in their family.

Student writing will focus on compare/contrast - there are many options for this- comparing internal and external feelings, thoughts etc, comparing characters, comparing settings.

This unit offers a wide variety of texts including the epic, novels, picture books, poetry, and film that will be explored while investigating the essential questions. These options offer opportunities for differentiation. This unit connects both backwards to the first two units and forward to what is to come allowing for overlap of concepts that will make transitions easier for all students.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Analyzing

Unit 4

Do I really have a choice in the matter?

Students explore how patterns and contrasts in language (diction, imagery, and figurative language) reveal central ideas in texts and develop various motifs (light vs. dark, dreams vs. reality, high vs. low, etc.) in Romeo and Juliet. They come to understand how those motifs emphasize internal and external conflicts that result from love, hate, loyalty, and friendship.

Students examine the extent to which characters’ reactions to conflict and opposition dictate the outcomes of a situation and learn about the science and psychology behind the way teenagers think about choice, conflict, and consequence. Students apply this knowledge of psychology to evaluate characters in Romeo and Juliet and age-restriction laws in contemporary society.

21st Century Capacities: Citizenship, Decision Making

Grade 10

Grade 10 World Literature Curriculum Overview

UnitDescro

Unit 1

Storytellers have used archetypes from the beginning of storytelling. In this unit, we will explore ancient texts to pull out broader characters, images, events, and ideas that connect people across time and culture. We will examine the commonalities of different cultural groups throughout the world and across time through the lenses of character, plot (situational), and image (symbolic) archetypes. We will also study theme and how to write a proper thesis statement. This unit culminates with the application of archetypal and thematic lenses, as students will read a story and write a thesis statement about it.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing

Unit 2

While building on our knowledge of archetypes, we will continue to examine how storytelling developed into drama and literature. In this unit, we will explore Classic/Greek literature to develop an understanding of literary devices including allusions, theme, and symbols in addition to identifying dramatic techniques. Through our readings and discussions, we will explore what it means to be a tragic hero as well as determine how these texts are relevant to our own lives. This unit will build on our capacity to understand complex texts through the development of claims and illustrative details.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Unit 3

Many of the texts you have read over the years are from a eurocentric point of view (including the first two units of this course). In this unit, we will broaden the students' exposure to texts and consequently examine culture through the stories of people from Africa. Topics to study will include the impact of imperialism as well as the link between storytelling and cultural identity. Students will analyze how characters develop through the influence of cultural identities. Through exploring alternate perspectives, we will challenge ourselves to improve our analysis and reflection skills.

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Reflection

Unit 4

In Unit 3, we pushed our thinking to consider alternate perspectives. We continue that in Unit 4 as we look at a variety of literature from across Asia. We will examine the diversity of cultures within the largest continent. Key topics to explore may include individuality vs. conformity, tradition (respecting vs. breaking free), the weight of history, and the role of Eastern religion and philosophy. We will start with myths and folktales to explore the origins of traditions still present today and will build on that with a study of the various religions and philosophies of the region. Ultimately, students will apply this knowledge to more contemporary works, which they will study through a cultural lens.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Decision Making

Unit 5

In the last two units, we analyzed texts through a cultural lens. In the prior unit, we also looked at the concepts of tradition and conformity. We return back to Western culture to analyze alienation and, once again, conformity. We learn how to apply interpretive lenses (feminist, formalist, historical, Marxist, philosophical, psychological, religious, or rhetorical) as a novel approach first through a whole class text. We will each then independently select a piece of literature from Europe and develop an in-depth analysis of it by choosing and utilizing an appropriate lens. We ask student to step out of their comfort zone, relying only slightly on the familiar, to imagine new ways to analyze a text.

21st Century Capacities: Imagining, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 6

We have explored the foundational texts from many cultures and continents up to this point in the course. Now we will explore texts by the inhabitants of what are now North, Central, and South America.

We will begin this unit by reading foundational works from the earliest inhabitants of these locations. After studying the beliefs and ideologies of these people, we will read contemporary texts by the same group(s). Our goal will be to examine how the ancient culture's beliefs and heritage informs contemporary literature.

The purpose of the unit is to actively listen to the voices of the text. This final unit will prepare us to transition to the next course, American Literature, which opens with a discussion of what it means to be American. Ultimately, we should understand, appreciate, and celebrate not only ourselves but the differences that make up our global society. We should also see the connection between the past and present. This unit should function as a culmination of building global context and empathy.

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing


Grade 11

Grade 11 American Literature Curriculum Overview

UnitDescription

Unit 1

How Did We Get Here?

In this unit, students will be asked to ponder what it means to be an American. At the start of the unit, they will read texts related to the beginnings of America and/or the variety of people who live in America. The goal is for students to think not only about the early years of this country, but also to consider the different experiences of those who inhabit it. After an examination of the country’s foundation, they will apply that knowledge to an in-depth analysis of rhetorical techniques and appeals. Students will look at the early writings from the Puritan times as well as texts written by members from marginalized groups. They will also study contemporary articles, news outlets, etc. in an attempt to analyze the rhetoric in their lives. Ultimately, students will write and deliver their own speech using rhetorical techniques and appeals, thus demonstrating their ability to articulate their thoughts, present a convincing argument, and examine what it means to be American today.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Presentation

Unit 2

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?

In this unit, students will read works about the relationship between the individual and the society in which he lives. Emphasis is on identifying the benefits and drawbacks of conforming to societal expectations as well as looking at American works from the Transcendental and Romantic movements of the 19th century. These texts, comprised of poems, essays, and novels, are complex, so students will practice reading strategies such as annotation, identifying important passages, summarizing, and responding to the text. The writing focus of this unit will be on narration and description. Students will have the opportunity to choose from and explore a variety of poems to develop an interpretation which they will share. Furthermore, students will need to consider the Transcendentalist ideals and apply them to contemporary conversations about conformity.

21st Century Capacities: Decision Making, Analyzing

Unit 3

The Mirror and the Lamp: Author’s Style

In this unit, students will look at literature as both a mirror (reflecting the ways of society) and a lamp (illuminating the author’s perspective on - and sometimes critique of - society). To do so, they will look at author’s style, paying particular attention to the ways in which an author’s choices impact his/her message. They will read various texts and analyze the author’s stylistic choices. They will then be introduced to satire, which serves as another example of an author’s style impacting the delivery and interpretation of his/her message. Students will also consider the ways in which literature can provide social commentary.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Engaging in Global Issues

Unit 4

The Mirror and the Lamp: Close Reading

Students will continue to look at literature as both a mirror (reflecting the ways of society) and a lamp (illuminating the author’s perspective on - and sometimes critique of - society). This particular unit will build on all of the units that came before it and focus on reading. Students will be required to independently perform close readings of various texts and articulate their analysis of what they read. By the end of the unit, each student will be able to read a text, convey his/her thoughts about it, support his/her claims with textual evidence, and reflect on how he/she arrives at such conclusions.

Students will consider varying conceptions of the “American Dream” and will examine the link between this and the dichotomy of idealism and reality. In doing so, students will also consider the ways in which literature can provide social commentary. They will look at the ways in which their own backgrounds impact the ways in which they analyze these texts.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Synthesizing

Grade 12

Grade 12

Combat Literature

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Glorification of War - “I want YOU for the US Army?”

World War II is deemed as a “good war” and a “just war.” Most Americans contributed to the cause and soldiers were proud to fight for their country. Where did this attitude stem from? What is a “just war”? Students will analyze propaganda from World War II to first understand how the media influenced the generally positive attitude toward war. Students will then watch Saving Private Ryan to observe and analyze characters, mood, tone, symbols, and imagery to determine the purpose of the film. Students will then read fiction and nonfiction expressing different perspectives on the war, and compare and contrast these sentiments with that of the general attitudes toward World War II. Students will complete this unit by creating a movie trailer for a self-selected film depicting World War II that demonstrates a command of tone, imagery, symbolism, and dialogue.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Product Creation

Unit 2

Anti-War “What is it good for?”

The Vietnam War was an era of conflicting attitudes among Americans. Despite the overwhelming number of men drafted to fight, not all Americans supported the country’s involvement in the war. Students will explore the causes and effects of the war, understand the differences between American attitudes toward that war and that of WWII, and analyze the cultural phenomena of the 60’s and 70’s including film and music and their influences on the growing protest movement. Students will examine the ways the Vietnam experience influences American attitudes toward war in the 21st Century.

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Analyzing

Unit 3

Ambiguity of War “What is right?”

Students in this generation were born during the War on Terror. While their experience with war is distant and not on US soil, students will attempt to disaggregate their perspectives and understandings of this war to understand their overall sentiment toward war. In this unit, students will synthesize multiple resources to analyze the changes overtime in civilian perception of soldiers, war, and the hero. In order to become independent thinkers, students will engage in book groups to reflect on their bias and opinions and attempt to suspend judgment while considering multiple perspectives. Students will interview a veteran to gain an authentic perspective of war; students will then reflect on the interview and the motifs/ideas in the course to make an independent decision about their attitude toward war.

21st Century Capacities: Engaging Global Issues, Alternate Perspectives, Citizenship

Creative Writing

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Exploring the Self through Narrative

Students will read personal narratives and craft their own. From journal entries to a developed personal narrative, they will experiment with voice, style, scene building, exploded moments, imagery, time, and place.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection, Perseverance

Unit 2

Experimenting with Verse

After becoming acclimated to the language and moves of creative writing and personal reflection, students will now move to poetry to learn a different vehicle of expression. Students will read mentor texts (poems) to learn the different forms of poetry and different ways to accomplish purpose for a specific audience. Students will then analyze the ways in which poets present their poetry so that students will be prepared to both write and present their own poetry at the end of the unit.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Presentation

Unit 3

Short Fiction

Students will hone their creative writing skills and flex their imagination muscles! In this unit, students will begin by brainstorming topics and stories to write about to write. Using the selected topic, students will be introduced to ways to develop strong characters, conflict, setting, and engagement techniques. At each point of introduction, students will use the new techniques/ideas and then students will conference with the teacher and collaborate with their peers to improve their short fiction piece. The unit will culminate with students composing criteria to assess a short story and then students will use these criteria to assess their own writing piece.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Reflection

Unit 4

Writing in Dramatic Mode

Shakespeare once wrote, "All the world's a stage," and so students will learn the distinct elements that make drama, drama. Dramatic vocabulary will be introduced, identified, and evaluated in mentor texts. Then, students will write their own plays in a selected format and, in the spirit of creative writing, edit and revise their piece collaboratively. At the end of the unit, students will also complete a portfolio with their work from the course. They will present this portfolio to an authentic audience.

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Decision Making

Journalism

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Ethics And Objectivity

This unit focuses on the legal and ethical guidelines that reporters are expected to follow. It involves global thinking by including landmark legal cases involving student journalism, libel, The First Amendment, and social media. Students will examine the decisions made by a reporter during a movie, determine why those decisions are not legal or ethical, and display critical thinking by offering alternative choices that the reporter could have made in order to gain information legally. Due to the nature of the course, assignments will be constantly updated in order to represent current events.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Citizenship

Unit 2

Interviewing

This unit focuses on the interviewing process that reporters are expected to follow. Students will display critical thinking by developing newsworthy story ideas, determining appropriate sources, and creating appropriate questions for those sources to address. Students will conduct a professional interview which includes questions focused on the 5 Ws and H: What? Who? Where? When? Why? and How?

21st Century Capacities: Problem Identification, Analyzing

Unit 3

Article Creation

This unit focuses on crafting news articles, feature articles, and editorials. Students will learn the format and expectations of journalistic writing. Students will use their knowledge of press law, ethics, and the interviewing process to create authentic articles using the journalistic process.

21st Century Capacities: Citizenship, Product Creation

Literature and Film

UnitDescription

Unit 1Key Concepts & Early Film

In this unit students will take their first steps towards understanding and analyzing film on a deep level. Students will begin the unit by learning about the techniques used in film as well as the vocabulary required in order to discuss those techniques. The unit will focus on allowing students to identify elements of the following aspects of film when they see them being used in a film: cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene, and sound. By learning the appropriate vocabulary in order to discuss film, and by being able to identify when these specific cinematic techniques are being used, students will make their first foray towards determining how meaning is created in film beyond the basics of plot, character, and dialogue. By the end of this unit students will be able to engage with film on a deeper level and analyze a scene for its use of cinematic techniques.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing

Unit 2Beginnings of Adaptation

In the prior unit, students discussed various cinematic techniques in order to analyze film. In this unit, students will consider these techniques in analyzing film adaptations of literature. They will start the unit by reviewing how to perform a close reading of a text. They will build on that knowledge by considering how directors choose to convey the same meanings as authors. Students will read multiple texts, analyze them, and consider how to go about adapting them to film. Students will focus on considering the choices a director makes when he/she adapts a piece of literature to the screen and consider how a director can choose to emphasize a specific interpretation of a narrative through his/her adaptation. They will explore how one narrative can be taken in two entirely different directions through the use of adaptation. Furthermore, students will evaluate successes and shortcomings of the choices directors make.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Modern Communication

UnitDescription

Unit 1

The unit primarily instructs students on how to write, format, and present introductions and conclusions of speeches using PowerPoint. The students will then learn strategies for delivering presentations. They will also use taught listening skills to analyze speech models in order to hone their own personal speaking skills. The unit will culminate with a presentation demonstrating the students' abilities to convey their message effectively.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Presentation

Unit 2

In this unit students will investigate themselves - their strengths, interests, learning styles and personality types - using Naviance and other online tools in order to find occupations to explore for future career paths. They will learn conversation skills for attaining business contacts and create a plan of action in order to follow a certain career path. Finally, students will write a business letter, resume, cover letter, and thank you letter.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Product Creation, Decision Making

Unit 3

As a result of their work in unit 2, students defined what professional success means to them. Now, students will define and reflect on personal success and evaluate their criteria against a chosen public figure. Students will also read a short novel, completing journals during reading to better understand the two types of success from their own perspective as well as the perspective of someone else.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation

Unit 4

At this point, we have defined personal and professional success. To advance that knowledge even further, we must consider the dichotomy of right and wrong. As such, this unit will focus on the correlation between ethics and earning/achieving personal and professional success. Students will recognize that they face ethical decisions all the time. Students will participate in a reading group in which they will discuss and journal about the ethical decisions made in the text and their ideas about personal and professional success. Ultimately, they will create their own personal ethical code.

21st Century Capacities: Decision Making, Citizenship

Unit 5

After gaining confidence with individual public speaking and reflecting on their filmed presentations, students will be taught strategies for effective collaboration. In addition, they will learn the 7 Effective Habits of Teenagers. They will apply this knowledge to characters from a film and their personal experiences. They will reflect on their collaboration skills to gain insight for future work.

Students will prepare for and participate in a mock interview. This will be a continuation of the Dream Job resume assignment from unit 2. Students will be required to update their resume, write a cover letter, engage in a mock interview, and write a thank you letter for this dream job. This will be the final assignment for the course.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence, Reflection

Writing for Career and College

UnitDescription

Unit 1

It’s Personal (Writing)

To start this writing course, students will use mentor texts, word choice, and description to improve personal writing. Students will start by writing an introductory piece, then editing and revising the piece to produce their “best” writing. Students will then reflect on this writing piece and will create goals for their writing progress in the course. Students will study vocabulary and develop grammar knowledge as part of the writing process.

21st Century Capacities: Reflection

Unit 2

Here’s How You Do It

It is important to think logically about a process in order to explain that process to others. In order to put a process on paper students must understand the steps involved and be able to put themselves in the shoes of the reader. They, as the writer, may understand how to complete the task, but someone without their background knowledge may need more information. To engage learners the alternate perspective will be explored orally by allowing students to frequently alter the perspective in a piece of writing (either something they have written or a mentor text).

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspective, Synthesizing

Unit 3

Let’s Argue About It

In the last two units students learned how to use appropriate details to clarify their writing, how to use transitions, and how to look at an issue from another perspective. All of these skills will come into play as they research and present an argument on a topic of their choice. Students will learn how to evaluate a source from the internet and will begin to develop a counterclaim.

21st Century Capacities: Problem Identification, Citizenship

Unit 4

Analyze This!

This final unit of the course puts to task the analytical skills students have been using, but in a different way. Now the focus will be on analyzing a work of fiction. Students will use what they know about character, theme, setting, and conflict to deepen their understanding of a work of fiction. Student will learn when to “stop and jot” to annotate a text, how to evaluate those notes to create an idea worth writing about, and finally how to write an analysis of a text using quotations properly to support ideas.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Problem Identification

Dramatic Workshop I

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Getting to Know You and the Theater

In this unit, students will be introduced to the basics of ensemble work, the stage and improv. They will engage in team building activities and learn about ways to prepare to act, engaging in - amongst other things - warm-up and voice exercises. They will also learn their way around the theater by studying stage directions, types of stages, and different ways one can act (improvisation and pantomime will be introduced). Students will begin an observation journal that will be used throughout the course to adapt and create characters. Students will critique each other's performances and learn to give meaningful feedback. Finally, they will work in small groups to introduce their peers to the rest of the class.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Collective Intelligence

Unit 2

Tell Me a Story

In this unit students will explore the art of storytelling, turning a narrative into a performance, and will consider the impact an audience has on a story, continuing to support each other through constructive critique. Students will also advance their improvisational skills, paying attention to body, effort, shape and space. Students will view plays (video or live) and critique the story telling.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation, Imagining

Unit 3

Creating a Scene

First students will study a character that interests them from a selection of plays offered by the teacher and then they will bring all they know about voice, movement, and storytelling to creating an original character with unique motivations and an original backstory. The idea of blocking a scene will be presented, studied in filmed plays, and practiced so that students can perform a scene with a partner using the characters they created, props, and costumes. Throughout the unit students will continue to pull ideas from the observation journal in order to create complex characters that they can use in improv as well as their writing of scenes.

21st Century Capacities: Presentation, Collective Intelligence, Alternate Perspectives

Dramatic Workshop II

UnitDescription

Unit 1

The Comedy & The Tragedy

In this unit students will learn the history of theater from the Middle Ages to 1800 as they study tragedies and comedies from this time period. Learning will be focused on the different types of each genre as well as the use of language in each genre to produce a specific mood and tone. The role of critique and revision will be focused on as students prepare to write and perform either a tragic or comedic scene. Students will work on acting skills through improvisation and short, scripted performances throughout the unit.

21st Century Capacities: Design, Product Creation

Unit 2

On the Set

This short unit (2 to 2.5 weeks) is meant to give students an introduction to set construction, set design and lighting design. Students will explore the many options for designing a set and should be exposed to live or filmed plays from which to gather ideas and understanding. Students will learn how scenery and lighting can imply time, social status, mood, tone and how to use symbolic elements. To break up this more technical unit, teachers can include improv activities.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Synthesizing

Unit 3

The Past and the Future

In this last unit of the course students will first learn about theater from 1800 to the present and then will bring together all they have learned about acting, set and lighting design, and the history of theater to create a performance. For the six weeks of this unit students will form ensembles, choose drama material, design a set, and block a scene that they will perform. Students will adapt a scene from a well-known play, for example, making a tragedy into a comedy, making a realistic scene a fantastical one, or modernizing a scene from play of a different time period. Showing students actual plays- live or taped continues to be of great importance.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Collective Intelligence, Synthesizing

Bible as Literature

*Course developed in consultation with Rabbi Stacy Offner of Temple Beth Tikvah

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Why Study the Bible?

This launch unit focuses on the how and the why of biblical study. Beginning with the United States Supreme Court decision (Abington v. Schempp (1963) that allows the Bible to be studied as a historical and literary work in an unbiased, non-devotional, non-denominational fashion, students will analyze this case law and apply it to Steve Green's Museum of the Bible Curriculum, deciding whether or not it adheres to the court's ruling. With a clear understanding of the objective, secular nature of this course, students will then examine the pedagogy that supports it: The Bible as Literature is a course designed to prepare students to analyze and understand the myriad biblical allusions that they will encounter in their study of art, history, law, literature, music, philosophy, etc. as undergraduates.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Unit 2

In the Beginning - The Book of Genesis

In this unit, students acquire the discreet skills of biblical exegesis formulated by Judeo-Christian scholars over millenia: Plain Sense Reading teaches students how to check for comprehension; Inquiring Reading teaches students how to question biblical texts, a practice that uncovers deep historical and literary truths; Allegorical Reading challenges students to view the Bible more as a collection of symbolic stories rather than objective fact; and Thematic Reading which requires students to examine the Bible for events meant to impart universal lessons about the human condition. These skills will allow students to read the Bible as an historical document of high literary merit, the only approach to biblical study allowed in public schools according to Abington v. Schempp (1963).

21st Century Capacities: Alternate Perspectives, Synthesizing

Unit 3

The Promised Land - Exodus

What would life be like without laws? The first two books of the Bible provide a disturbing answer to this question: a world of vice and indulgence ranging from drunkenness and murder, to incest and rape; a lawless world in which God's punishments are of the harshest kind (fire and brimstone), but are the direct result of Him neglecting to give his chosen people a codified set of laws. Students will examine the nature of prescriptive and proscriptive laws in the form of the Ten Commandments, and what these laws help readers to infer about the Israelites. With an informed understanding of the effect the Ten Commandments have had on the Judeo-Christian tradition, students will examine the laws -- written and unwritten -- that govern their lives in modern-day Madison, CT.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Collective Intelligence

Unit 4

Kingdom Come: Judges, Kings & Prophets

Students have spent three units exploring the creation, trials, and tribulations of God's chosen people, the Israelites; but -- like all humans -- they have their flaws: chief among them, their belief that they need a king to compete with neighboring monarchies. In this unit, students will examine this unsettled period by analyzing the patterns of behavior. Students have examined the successes and failures of individuals until this unit, now they will analyze the cumulative effect that bad decisions have on a nation and God's repeated attempts to get it back on track with his trusted prophet, Samuel.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Decision Making

Unit 5

Inquiry Based Biblical Research: The Old Testament

In this inquiry-based unit, Bible as Literature students will choose one of the later books of the Old Testament for independent group study. Students will bring to bear all that they have learned in the course thus far to demonstrate mastery of essential skills like Close Reading (plain sense, inquiring, allegorical, and thematic); Socratic discussion; and forging meaningful text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections using evidence from multiple texts.

21st Century Capacities: Problem Identification, Synthesizing

Unit 6 Independent Inquiry-Based Bible Study

Students required to take an exam in Bible As Literature will choose from one of the Gospels or one segment of the Book of Revelation for independent group study. Students will bring to bear all that they have learned in the course thus far to demonstrate mastery of essential skills like Close Reading (plain sense, inquiring, allegorical, and thematic); Socratic discussion; and forging meaningful text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections using evidence from multiple texts.

21st Century Capacities: Problem Identification, Analyzing, Synthesizing

Race, LIterature and Culture

UnitDescription

Unit 1Race: Social Concept and Implications

The goal of this unit is to introduce students to four major concepts that we will examine in depth throughout the course. First, we will look at historical definitions of race and the hierarchies created among races throughout American history. Students will also consider the merits and flaws of a "colorblind" society, explicit vs. implicit bias, and the danger of a single story. Students are expected to come to this course with prior knowledge of the historical timeline/basic facts of early African American history. We will build upon that knowledge and further explore the aforementioned concepts with an in-depth analysis of various texts. Ultimately, students will be able to apply their new knowledge to a contemporary setting.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 2The Six Degrees of Segregation

In this unit, we will build upon the concepts from the prior unit by introducing students to the six degrees of segregation: education, employment, housing, voting, access to places of public accommodation, encounters with police/justice system. They will look at the interplay between the degrees and those prior-learned concepts and utilize their knowledge of all of them when they examine multiple pieces of literature, including at least one major novel and excerpts from various time periods in American history. In particular, they will look at slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary times. Ultimately, students will utilize this information as they reflect on their individual identities, the various groups that exist within our society, and their place in these groups. By the end of the unit - and thus the course - students will be able to evaluate the role of race in social situations and their lives.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Engaging in Global Issues

Students in Action

This group of students was reading George by Alex Gino as their book club book. This video is of one of the biweekly student led book discussions. Students were discussing the universal themes they found individually by analyzing and empathizing with the characters, scenes of conflict and choices the characters make. After working on accountable talk moves and questioning strategies, students came to their group ready to analyze and debate possible themes.

Student Voices

7th Grade Core 2 PBA Feedback